Severe weather, the type that can cause property damage and loss of life, can take a variety of forms depending on season and location. But during spring and summer in the northeastern United States, it usually takes the shape of an intense thunderstorm. In addition to thunder and lightning, these storms produce strong winds, heavy rain, hail, and the possibility of a downburst or tornado. Therefore, it is important to understand the difference between the various alerts issued by the National Weather Service. They include advisories, watches, and warnings.
- Advisory: Issued when significant, but not necessarily hazardous, weather conditions are likely to occur. Residents should exercise caution.
- Watch: Issued when dangerous weather conditions are possible over the next several hours. They generally cover a large geographic area. Residents should be prepared to take action.
- Warning: Issued when dangerous weather is imminent or already occurring. They cover a smaller, more specific geographic area. Residents should take action immediately.